Developing your MVP Mobile App

When developing your Minimum Viable Product mobile App, the first thing you need to define is the limits of how far you want to go. You need to decide how far you want to enhance the user experience in juxtaposition with the need to develop the essential functionality required to test it as a Minimum Viable Product. Sometimes keeping a balance between the two needs is challenging

Developing your Mobile Minimum Viable Product App

Defining your Minimum Viable Product Mobile App

After you collect your user requirements, you need to prioritize the needs of users and build upon the minimal required features you decided upon during the initial stage of building your Minimum Viable Product product. Regardless of the technology you are using, developing your product on a mobile platform is not that much different than developing any other CTO project and should be handled the same way.

Next, prepare the wires that define your Mobile Minimum Viable Product. The best way to do this is to use a Mockup sketching software like Balsamiq (which comes with out of the box templates for mobile devices and controls ). Although using sketching software can reduce the amount of time required to draw screenshots, still there is the burden of creating the right UEX. It is recommended that you use a UEX designer; someone who has previous experience in designing Mobile apps. Be sure to discuss with him what how standard the UEX of the app is expected to be.

Minimum Viable Product Mobile UEX

Mobile UEX is different in many ways from regular Web based UEX. Since the amount of real-estate is limited and the gestures are an important part of the overall experience , it is important to plan your Minimum Viable Product Mobile UEX in a way which follows standard interaction concepts and is intuitive from the perspective of a Mobile user. Using non-standard controls will only increase your development efforts and may not be is substantial for the functionality or features of your Minimum Viable Product in order to test it. However, sometimes for the purpose of ease of use, some Mobile Apps are all about exploring new approaches to enhance the user’s experience. So the decision of which way to go, standard or non-standard, depends on how important the UEX elements are prioritized into your Minimum Viable Product.

Mobile App Design

Mobile design is different from Web design. You need to find the right designer who understands the media, not just from the technical point of view (i.e. the size of elements, file formats, etc), but should also be someone who understands what works and what does not work – which is a lot different than just knowing how to design web interfaces. I suggest that in addition to reviewing the previous Mobile designs made by a given designer, ask to speak with a mobile developer who had previous work experience with the given designer to understand how smooth the process of working with the designer is.

Mobile App Development

Developing a mobile app requires the same efforts as any other development process, and mobile apps too have their risks. It is best to plan ahead and get together with your developers and review your goals and what you are you expecting to achieve with each development interval. Try to investigate ahead of time all the complex elements that will be required so that you can make a decision on the best way to implement them. Developing a mobile app usually also includes developing a backend server that is responsible for storing all the user data, sending notifications, and in some cases, doing the pre-processing. This requires you to coordinate your efforts between the developers that are responsible for the server development, (which can be done in Java / PHP1 / Python / Ruby), and the Mobile device’s development, which is done in Objective-C for iPhone or Java for Android.

Another decision that you should discuss with your developers ahead of time is whether or not you should develop your Minimum Viable Product as a native App or as an HTML5 web-based app. This decision has led to some heated discussions and each side has its supporters. Interesting enough, there is an interview with Kiran Prasad, who is LinkedIn’s senior director for mobile engineering, that talks about “Why LinkedIn dumped HTML5 & went native for its mobile apps“. The idea is that if your Minimum Viable Product development is done in HTML, it then has the advantage of using exclusively web-based development methods and with no need for additional developers to be on the server side of things.

Testing your Mobile App

Testing your Minimum Viable Product should be first conducted by your team in small scale cycles. Be sure to test the App on different mobile devices and models because you will soon discover several bugs which sometimes only appear on certain models.

For example, running a test with your initial target audience on an iPhone device can be done by getting the device number (UDID) from each user. By doing this you can run a test with up to 100 users at a time without having to first release it in the App Store.

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1PHPPHP is a server-side scripting language designed for web development but also used as a general-purpose programming language. Originally created by Rasmus Lerdorf in 1994, the PHP reference implementation is now produced by The PHP Group. While PHP originally stood for Personal Home Page,[3] it now stands for the recursive backronym PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor.

About David Rashty

David Rashty, an entrepreneur and one of the early web pioneers, has over twenty years’ experience as a CTO and a CEO. He has been involved in several start-ups and established companies and was the founder of two successful ventures.David is currently using his proven leadership and management skills to act as a Part Time CTO or "JumpStart" CTO for several early-stage ventures; this includes helping them design and develop their product and IT infrastructure.David holds a BS in computer science and an M.Sc in educational technology. He has been a adjunct university professor, given numerous workshops, written several books and articles on information technology and received numerous innovation awards.

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